iPhone Life magazine

Werner Ruotsalainen is an iOS and Java programming lecturer who is well-versed in programming, hacking, operating systems, and programming languages. Werner tries to generate unique articles on subjects not widely discussed. Some of his articles are highly technical and are intended for other programmers and coders.

Werner also is interested in photography and videography. He is a frequent contributor to not only mobile and computing publications, but also photo and video forums. He loves swimming, skiing, going to the gym, and using his iPads. English is one of several languages he speaks.

Multimedia playback: Why is dropping AC-3 support that important?


You may have asked yourself the question: “Is it really important to publish articles on some multimedia players' dropping AC-3 and warning people not to update? What's the point?” In the article below, I present you some examples of the consequences of Dolby's forcing developers to drop AC-3 support.

Great multimedia player "XBMC" adds support for the iPad Retina screen at last!


Up until now, I haven't really recommended the otherwise excellent (“thanks” to Apple's overly strict and - in my opinion - when it comes to video playback, absolutely unnecessary restrictions, jailbreak-only) XBMC multimedia player for iPad 3/4 users playing back high-resolution videos.

The reason for this was, as has always been explained in my articles, the lack of Retina screen support.

Now, take a look at the next two screenshots (click the thumbnails to get the original shots! Don't even try to evaluate the video playback resolution using the thumbnails):

Video player AnyPlayer(HD) updated: drops AC-3 support


In my previous review, I in no way recommended AnyPlayer(HD) (iTunes links: iPad / iPhone).

The new, just-approved version (1.5.8) has a single item in the update list: the drop of AC-3 support. (The previous, public version (1.5.5), released earlier this month, still supported them with software playback – that is, with files like MKV but not with the iOS-native ones like M4V.), The update list (click for the original!):

Review: Movie Player HD+ renamed to Media Player PRO; gets update


In my previous review, I didn't particularly like the initial version of Movie Player HD+, which, with the just-released update, has just been renamed to Media Player PRO. It also received a price bump; now, it costs $1.99.

Video player LuberPlayer(HD) back in AppStore; silently removes AC-3 support


I haven't recommended (and still don't do; see below) LuberPlayer(HD) (AppStore links: iPhone / iPad) as it doesn't have even basic functionality like hardware playback of iOS-friendly video files (MOV, MP4, M4V).

Tutorial: this is how you can add an iOS-friendly (AAC) audio to your now-unplayable (AC3) MKV's


Back in October, upon publishing my tutorial (link) on fixing videos no longer playable in most iOS video players, the then-current version of the tool to be used, MKVTools, wasn't still able to add an AAC track in addition to the original AC3 one without human intervention. (Just to recap: AAC is the iOS-friendly audio format and AC3 is the format that is no longer supported in almost any third-party iOS multimedia players, “thanks” to Dolby's forcing developers to drop the support.)

The Closed Captioning bible


There is a lot of confusion (see for example THIS) around Closed Captions (CC for short); they are routinely mistaken for traditional, textual subtitles (subs for short), even in the non-TV-streaming / DVD, that is, strictly Apple world. In this article, I've elaborate on the difference, the CC-to-subs conversion and the rendering of the original (Apple) CC's in desktop and iOS players.

1. The difference between CC and textual subs

1.1 Apple's CC

I've released a new MP4 / MKV AC3 / AAC standard video test suite & avoiding problems with split videos

Given that a lot of iOS multimedia developers use my suite of test videos to conformance test their apps (see for example the iPad screenshot HERE, with the latest Moli_player Pro HD (a screen capture link showing my Finnish test video I've created and generally use for DVB TS multiple subtitle and audio track conformance testing)), I found it necessary to dedicate a separate article for a new subset of my conformance and speed test suite so that as many of them get notified of the changes as possible.

A video recording freebie you definitely shouldn't miss: FiLMiC Pro! (+other heavy discount lists)


I've recommended the video recording tool FiLMiC Pro (AppStore link) in several of my articles (see for example THIS). It allows for a lot of tricks not possible with the stock Camera app - without jailbreaking.

New versions of excellent multimedia players yaPlayer, It's Playing, MoliPlayer and flex:player out – update warning!


The scene of third-party multimedia players have been pretty stormy lately, which can clearly be seen if you look around in iOS forums with more advanced users. Dolby's forcing all developers to license their (widely used and essential) audio codecs at pretty huge licensing fees has resulted in a lot of players removing Dolby audio support altogether, (pretty understandably – we're speaking of quite a lot of money not possible to pay if you sell, say, under 20-30 000 copies of a, say, $2 app) not being able to pay the money Dolby have demanded.

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